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Decommission LTTE arms, says PNM

COLOMBO: The Patriotic National Movement yesterday called on the government to decommission all arms held by the LTTE before entering into peace talks with the group.

The Movement's president Dr. Gunadasa Amarasekera said that the government must seriously take into account the decommissioning of LTTE arms as a pre-condition to talks.

He was speaking at a press conference held yesterday at the Sri Lanka Foundation Institute.

Referring to the recent listing of the LTTE as a terrorist organisation by the EU, Dr. Amarasekera said, "the EU should have banned the LTTE much earlier. However, we are thankful to the EU for listing them as a terrorist organisation even at this later stage."

Speaking on the EU proclamation on the LTTE ban, he said, "in Clause two of the ban it had said the decommissioning of the weapons of the LTTE should take place first, and peace talks can take place only after that."

"This is an important proclamation made by the EU. It is important because there is no country in the world that has committed itself to have talks with a terrorist organisation without that organisation surrendering their weapons," he pointed out.

"Obviously, the EU has made a positive gesture to the government to direct its efforts towards disarming the LTTE before it can have talks with them," he said.

"We think that the government should consider this seriously and work accordingly on this line. We feel what should be done now by the government is to focus on getting the LTTE to lay down their weapons than to focus on getting them down for talks, " he added.

Commenting on decisions and declarations made at the Tokyo Donor Co-Chairs meeting, Dr. Amarasekera said, the Co-Chairs have said they would give aid to us only if we make peace."

"This is a high handed statement.They have said this as if they offer this aid to beggars whereas we have to repay these debts for generations," he pointed out.

Besides , how can they say this to the government when the government is doing its best to promote peace. It is the LTTE that is spreading terrorism in the country blocking the path to peace with acts of violence, he said.

Therefore, we feel these type of statements should not be made by donor countries because it will indirectly put the blame on the government unnecessarily, he said.

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